Buick Rainier

The Buick Rainier was introduced in 2004 to spice up the Buick line with an SUV. The Rainier replaced the Oldsmobile Bravada produced by the Buick parent company General Motors. (The Bravada ran for two generations, one from 1991 to 1994, the other from 1996 to 2004.)

More on the Buick Rainier
Buick Rainier Origins

The Rainier was the first vehicle by Buick to have a body-on-frame model since the 1980s. Although thwas was a change for the Buick line, most of the aesthetic qualities of the Rainier are pulled from other GM sport utility vehicles.

The Rainier was built at the Morraine Assembly plant in Ohio.

About the Buick Rainier

The Buick Rainier was known for its powerful engine, which boasts incredible V-8 power. It was one of only four SUVs from the GMT360 line of vehicles to offer this powerful engine. The Buick Rainier came as either a rear drive or front-drive model.

The body of the Rainier was made in typical SUV style, with a sloping front and chopped off back. The Rainier closely resembleed its predecessor, the Oldsmobile Bravada.

The Rainier provides comfort and silence on the road. The Buick "QuietTuning" feature mades the ride inside the vehicle as quiet as possible. QuietTuning focuses on designing a vehicle where as much ambient noise as possible is silenced. Doors are triple-lined to reduce outdoor noise, glass is tuned to the same frequency as engine functionality and ambient noise from the road, and sound pads attach to the hood and the firewall of the vehicle.

Driving the Rainier, however, proves less enjoyable. Like so many other SUVs, the Rainier exhibits poor handling due to the frame-on-body design and its height above the tarmac. The handling of the vehicle was sloppy; even when the steering wheel was held fairly straight, veering often occurs.

Safety also poses a problem. The Rainier performed poorly on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) test. The 2004 Rainier was given the grade of Marginal for side and front impact, placing it on the low end of the safety scale.

The Buick Rainier did not last long. Due to its poor design and lackluster performance (resulting in miserable sales), the Rainier was discontinued in June 2007 in favor of the Buick Enclave, a full size crossover SUV that performs better than the Rainier.

Buick Rainier Evolution

The Rainier was not a high-performance vehicle; it never performed well and sold little. This resulted in few changes before Buick replaced the model with the Enclave.

The original Rainier model was available as the CXL and CXL Plus. Both models had a six-cylinder engine that produces 275 hp. A V-8 engine was available as an option. The LL8, six-cylinder engine has a 4.2-liter capacity, and the larger V-8 5300 engine has a 5.3-liter capacity. All engines were coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission.

The size of the vehicle increased slightly over time. The 2004 and 2005 models measured in at 191.8 inches, while the 2006 and 2007 models grew to 193.4 inches. The width of 75.4 inches and the height of 74.5 inches remained the same throughout the entire production run.

The CXL Plus model included more options than the entry-level CXL and a specialized trim. Buick eventually dropped the CXL and instead focused on improving the CXL Plus.

The 2007 model, made just before the vehicle was replaced, did show some signs of improvement. A new auto-leveling suspension, special climate controls, better wheels, anti-lock brakes, and new traction and stability control greatly improved the driving experience and safety. The 2007 model also included all-wheel drive as an added option. A fancy innovation on the 2007 model was the heads-up display, which shows the vehicle’s current speed on the windshield.

If you are looking for a well-priced SUV for you and your family and you are considering a Rainier, think again. Too many glitches, cheap equipment, and appalling safety features make this vehicle a resounding no. Find a used Buick Enclave if possible. The Enclave outperforms the Rainier in many ways; it makes it a perfectly acceptable alternative if you want to stick with the Buick brand.

Select a Buick Rainier Year

2007 Buick Rainier

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2007 Buick Rainier is a luxury sport utility vehicle (SUV) in name only; it has more in common with basic GM SUVs than it does with any of the competition in this vaunted and sought-after segment.

2006 Buick Rainier

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2006 Buick Rainier is a midsize SUV that was introduced in 2004.

2005 Buick Rainier

SUV, Utility/Offroad

The 2005 Buick Rainier, Buick’s answer to the Chevrolet Trailblazer, is a well-equipped sport utility vehicle (SUV) with plenty of features and accessories.

2004 Buick Rainier

SUV, Utility/Offroad